November 2, 2004

THE FRONT-RUNNERS:

Whirlwind Finish for Governor: Schwarzenegger intersperses appeals for candidates with a laundry list of advice on many of the 16 ballot measures. (Jordan Rau, November 2, 2004, LA Times)

After a year of sporadically threatening to "terminate" Democratic legislators who did not go along with him, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger concluded the campaign season Monday with an uphill dash throughout California in which he asked voters to remake the Legislature more in his image.

From San Diego to Monterey, Schwarzenegger showed up for brief appearances with five Republican legislative candidates and one vulnerable GOP incumbent, sometimes rallying campaign workers and other times grabbing a phone to call voters on his own before heading back to his jet for the next stop.

The ambition of his electioneering was evident as Schwarzenegger interspersed his appeals for candidates with a laundry list of advice on many of the 16 measures on today's ballot, often referring to them only by their official numbers.

"I'm excited because I have some really good candidates, I'm supporting some really good initiatives and at the same time I'm trying to get rid of some of the initiatives, make them lose, terminate them," Schwarzenegger said outside the campaign headquarters of Stockton Mayor Gary Podesto, who is hoping to unseat Democratic state Sen. Mike Machado of Linden.

Analysts agree that all this would be a heavy lift for Schwarzenegger, who has yet to show that his popularity can be transferred to other candidates, or to ballot measures that are not closely identified with him.

Though Schwarzenegger has helped raise money for some Republicans, Democrats are confident that they will not lose much, if any, ground in the Legislature, where they control the Senate, 25 to 14, and the Assembly, 48 to 32. A number of GOP strategists privately agree.


The reality is that if he can't rebuild the party in CA there's no reason for Republicans to support his national ambitions and his politics make him a better fit for the Democratic nomination.

Meanwhile, here's a more serious party-building effort by the most formidable GOP candidate, Party leaders intensify races for Legislature (Raphael Lewis, November 2, 2004, Boston Globe)

Massachusetts voters are expected to turn out in record numbers today to decide the most competitive legislative campaign in memory, choosing among candidates who have latched onto the coattails, strategies, and resources of heavyweights Senator John F. Kerry and Governor Mitt Romney.

With 28 contested Senate seats, 91 House seats, and Romney's reputation as a party builder on the line, Republican and Democratic officials alike say they have infused the legislative races with new technology, organizing, and money, lending the typically disparate legislative races the feel of uniform statewide campaigns.

Romney, aware that Kerry will draw Democrats to the polls, visited eight Republican state Senate candidates who the party has identified as having the best chance of overtaking their Democratic opponents. If all eight win, the GOP would at last have enough seats in the Senate to protect the governor's vetoes and dramatically increase Romney's power on Beacon Hill.

But the governor acknowledged that his bid to increase Republican numbers in the Legislature faces daunting obstacles, even though the party has pumped more than $3 million into the effort and at least three GOP Senate hopefuls have invested more than $100,000 in their own races.

"I don't think anyone expected at the beginning that Kerry was going to be the Democratic nominee, and here he is," Romney said between campaign stops yesterday. "And that, of course, gives the Democrats in this state an additional leg up. In addition to incumbency, the Democratic advantage in registration, and John Kerry, it's a pretty potent obstacle."


This would explain running Bush ads in Western MA.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 2, 2004 8:18 AM
Comments

The only party-related news I've seen coming out of California in the past week -- even with a senate seat up for grabs today -- is the complaint filed by the state Republican party against a couple of Los Angeles talk show hosts over their efforts to oust Rep. David Drier for not being tough enough on illegal immigration. If that's what they have to focus on in the final week of the campaign, then the state party still has a lot of work to do to build up a competitive organization, and Schwarzenegger's success is akin to the Republican Party of Nelson Rockefeller in New York, who ran and governed as a moderate liberal, did nothing to strengthen any organization but his own, and left a dust pile that took a generation to rebuild when he left office.

Posted by: John at November 2, 2004 8:55 AM

The California Republican party needs to be completely rebuilt. The first step is booting out the racist loons like Dornan, and earlier versions like Dannemeyer and Schmitz. California is 1/3 Hispanic at least, and the GOP is not in play for those voters whatsoever. That is a huge hurdle.

California Republicans have an opportunity here to move the GOP out of the 'racist' box that Nixon's Southern strategy trapped it in. They can help move us forward into a nonracial America, rather than the Democratic alternative of splitting us into little communities which all hate and mistrust each other.

Arnie can help. It won't be quick and it won't be easy, but it truly is worth doing.

Posted by: Bart at November 2, 2004 10:23 AM

O,

are you now against Arnold because he is for stem cell research.

Posted by: neil at November 2, 2004 10:46 AM

I was against him because he was pro-abortion and gay rights and an adulterer. But he's as good as CA can do.

Posted by: oj at November 2, 2004 10:57 AM

I recently saw Arnold on the Dennis Miller show.

The Gov's knowledge of pending California legislation set before the voters today - what he's for and what he's dead-set against - is very impressive.

It's obvious that he has had a lot of private sector (i.e., real world) experience.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at November 2, 2004 11:00 AM

The only party-related news I've seen coming out of California in the past week -- even with a senate seat up for grabs today -- is the complaint filed by the state Republican party against a couple of Los Angeles talk show hosts over their efforts to oust Rep. David Drier for not being tough enough on illegal immigration.

That would be "The John and Ken Show", KFI AM-640's afternoon drive-time guys and the mouthiest guys on LA radio -- I've been listening to them since they covered Cirque de OJ.

A couple months ago, they started something called "Political Human Sacrifice", in which they would target two Congressmen (one Dem, one Rep) in totally safe districts and try to get them ousted to send a message to Washington.

The two targets were selected based on their voting records on immigration. The Dem was Joe Baca ("NO MORE CACA FROM BACA!"), a big-time Raza Boy (Mexican Supremacist). After an Internet runoff between six Rep nominees, they settled on Dreier ("FIRE DREIER!").

Well, John & Ken have been doing live "Political Human Sacrifice" shows from before Baca's & Dreier's offices, complete with big crowds, bullhorns, and a "savage" with a bone through his nose dancing around a bubbling sacrificial cauldron to a dedicated "Political Human Sacrifice" theme song.

Well, Dreier lost it and not only "filed a complaint" with the FEC, he tried to get John & Ken up on Federal Felony charges for election violations. Yesterday John, Ken, the bullhorn, the cauldron, and the savage returned the favor with an encore performance in front of Dreier's office, now supercharged by "Dreier's trying to silence us!" Clear Channel's lawyers (owners of KFI) are also throwing down on this as "intimidation" and First Amendment, i.e. "Federal Prison if we endorse your opponent?"

Posted by: Ken at November 2, 2004 2:42 PM
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